#10 | Event Marketing: The Ultimate Project Management Challenge

Event management is a complex process. The sheer scale and complexity of events can be overwhelming. Many great event concepts fail in execution due to organisational issues.

When events fail to meet expectations, one of the most common reasons is a lack of project management – with no one single project manager appointed. At times, even if one is appointed, it may be someone with a lack of influence, or someone simply in the wrong role or with the wrong skill set.

We strongly believe at MPG that event marketers are ideally suited to being event project managers and that they should actively step up and claim this role.

Multi-tasking marketers suited for project management

Event Marketing Project Management (Conferences & Exhibitions)Many businesses underestimate the need for strong management in event planning. Frequently, instead of appointing a central leader a junior member of staff – or even worse, often a range of stakeholders – are given the ‘responsibility’ of bringing an event together. With no single responsible person, or nobody with the influence required to co-ordinate multiple stakeholders and ‘get things done’, silos develop. No-one is looking at ‘the big picture’.

Consequently, important details start falling through the cracks, leading to an array of problematic logistical and marketing issues. That’s when you see events people going into ‘fire-fighting’ or ‘panic’ mode! Unfortunately, some events teams are in this state constantly and thus develop a poor reputation for being ‘chaotic’ or ‘lacking in strategy’.

Event marketers should step in to ensure this never happens. As strong communicators and with a bird’s eye view of all event elements, an event marketer is uniquely suited to be a strong project manager. Someone able to drive forward event management at the required pace and with the right focus in the right areas at the right time.

Avoid missed opportunities

One of the best reasons for having a marketer as the project manager for an event is they understand the communication value of all planning developments.

It’s surprising how often ideal publicity or marketing opportunities for promoting an event are missed out as non-marketing stakeholders didn’t see the marketing upside of it and failed to communicate in a timely fashion.

Obvious examples are things like signing up a major speaker or sponsor. But with content marketing so critical to event success now, there can be more subtle opportunities missed too. For instance, major industry news connected to a sponsor or speaker can make for great content to share across your channels and keep content fresh and engaging and not too salesy.

By having a good event marketer as project manager means that these kinds of gems are less likely to fall through the cracks.

Making the most of partners

Event partners, including speakers and sponsors, present great opportunities for ensuring an event’s success – far beyond the ‘obvious’ elements they are contributing. All too often event organisers fail to make the most of the networks and referral opportunities these third parties can provide.

Good event marketers are adept at spotting the best opportunities and getting the most mileage possible out of the reach and credibility they can leverage by working closely with external stakeholders like speakers and sponsors.

So, while marketers may not have the primary or sole responsibility for bringing in new partners, it’s hugely beneficial to have them closely involved as project managers so they can ensure the best use is being made of all external relationships.

Consistent brand communications

Event Marketing Project Management (Conferences & Exhibitions)Project managers from marketing backgrounds understand the importance of presenting the brand consistently in everything an organisation does. This is as true in event planning as anything else.

All departments from logistics to producers to sales must be ‘singing from the same brand hymn sheet’ when communicating to external audiences and stakeholders about an event.

Marketers are best placed to draw up and enforce branding and messaging. This avoids each department talking with external groups with their own unique way of presenting the event or brand. The last thing you want is confusion as to what kind of event you are holding, it’s key value proposition and who is being targeted to attend.

Bring campaign skills and strategy to the table

Finally, the marketing disciplines required for an effective marketing campaign – such as regular meetings (ideally weekly) and ongoing measurement and reporting – are perfectly transferable to event project management.

Again, the communication skills of a good marketer helps to bring diverse stakeholders together, drive projects forward and hold individuals or teams accountable for their contribution.

Marketers’ experience in dealing with the ups and downs of a typical long-term marketing campaign means they are also well equipped to respond with speed and agility to unexpected challenges and opportunities that develop during event planning.

So, marketers, what are you waiting for? Raise your hand and make the best contribution you possibly can to ensure your event is a huge success – go beyond marketing and be an excellent project manager too.

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